RealTime IT News

Going Beyond Integration at webMethods

With its vision of an enterprise service-oriented architecture (ESOA), webMethods Wednesday announced new products and partnerships at its Integration World 2003 in Orlando, Fla.

Executives at the Web services infrastructure company have been saying for some time now that enterprise integration has reached a maturation point. Now, they said, is the time for the company to move beyond that and into new applications and partnerships that build upon the integrated network.

They even have a name for it: the webMethods Fabric, a platform that links J2EE, .NET and legacy systems together. Their ESOA platform came together only recently, with the announcement of three webMethods acquisitions recently.

While integration might have reached maturity in the business world, it doesn't mean webMethods has completely abandoned the space. Wednesday, the company rolled out two products called Express and JMS+. Think of it as Integration Light, with all the integration at a fraction of the cost.

webMethods prefers to call it an enterprise service bus (ESB), which they say is an emerging sector within the infrastructure software industry. It integrates products on a point-to-point basis, and officials hope will act as a springboard to a more thorough integration process down the road, which Roy Schulte, Gartner vice president and research fellow, calls the enterprise nervous system (ENS).

"An ESB can be a sensible first step toward a systematic ENS because it provides the basic connectivity backbone," he said.

Capitalizing on the popularity of RFID with many of today's supply chain customers, webMethods inked a deal with OATSystems to deliver the scanning technology on its platform. When you don't have the resources to build the technology yourself, like IBM , the next best thing is partnering with a company that already has RFID.

"RFID technology will revolutionize the way products are manufactured, tracked, sold and bought, and enterprise level integration will be a critical component of RFID projects," said Kareen Renaudin, webMethods vice president of industry solutions. "By partnering with OATSystems, webMethods will be able to deliver an out-of-the-box solution that enables our customers to reduce the time, cost and effort of their RFID projects."

webMethods plans to integrate OATSystems RFID with its own synchronization software to provide real-time inventory management, to match up package information with its location.

Dashboards are popular with many businesses today to keep up with business activity monitoring (BAM), providing an easy-to-understand GUI to business processes. As such, the Fairfax, Va., company announced it was licensing Informatica's PowerAnalyzer to deliver webMethods Dashboards.

The dashboards will make up one part of webMethods new Business Activity Platform, which sits on top of its own business process Modeler and integration software. The company also plans to sell the BAM offering as a standalone, best-of-breed software product that can later be integrated into webMethods infrastructure fabric.

It's only appropriate that one of the announcements Wednesday at the convention had to do with its new webMethods Mobile solution, which lets on-the-go employees get corporate information from their laptop, PDA , phones and PC tablets. Tied with its webMethods Optimize solution -- a business intelligence toolset that tracks real-time business transactions -- officials say traveling employees can get alerts "before it has a chance to adversely affect business operations," the release stated.